The political climate in this country has spilled into the sports world after President Donald Trump attacked NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem.
Trump’s attention turned to the NBA when Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry said he wouldn’t take the trip to the White House, leading to Trump taking away the offer. Many NBA players spoke out against the President’s actions, and now with the NBA season nearing there are questions as to whether some NBA players could participate in national anthem protests.
In an effort to get out in front of that possibility, Commissioner Adam Silver recently spoke out, urging players to stand for the anthem. Now, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA has sent a memo to all 30 teams reinforcing the already existing rule that requires players to stand:
The NBA sent a memo late Friday to teams reinforcing its rule that players and coaches stand for the national anthem, suggesting other ways in which they might address the recent protest movement sweeping across the NFL and other sports.
Inside the memo, the league stated that they have the discretion to discipline any players who violate the rule, amongst other things:
The memo states that individual teams “do not have the discretion to waive” the rule that players, coaches and staff stand for the anthem. The league has the discretion to discipline players who violate the rule. It is not clear if the league would exercise it in the event of any protest. The league also does not want teams independently disciplining players, sources say, and has encouraged open dialogue within teams.
In sending out the memo, the NBA was not trying to downplay any of the issues that have been at the forefront of the NFL protests, but rather reminding teams and players that these rules exist. The league suggested different things such as joint pregame addresses from teams or a video PSA as actions that could take place.
With stars such as Curry and LeBron James being so outspoken on these issues we will almost certainly see them addressed at arenas when the regular season starts. Players sitting during the anthem however, now seems unlikely.